tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera November 22, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
these were people i thought were my friends. >> he is half the brakes behind the creation of elders, a group of global leaders that worked for human rights. >> it's a lot dream. they sort out some of the problems. >> his first claim to fame was genesis then as a groundbreaking solo artist. he is the founder of woman, the world of music, art and dance festival. >> people weren't singing in english, weren't from mainstream pop culture. they weren't getting seen or heard he wrote shock the monkey is now working with apes. we got some on the rooms. >> i spoke to him in new york. i was watching you deliver a ted talk. you were a child. you really, you enjoyed trees and bushes and foliage.
you were taken there against your will. >> yeah. kids, you know, i can't remember how old i was. i was probably seven, eight, something like this and then took all of my clothes off and mucked around. i was -- these were people that i thought were my friends. on a number of ways, you know. it wasn't too bad at school. there was a school i went to later which was worse, but it was still a traumatic event for me. when i try and loved ones blown up. i don't have anything in my experience to compare to that. but i've got just, you know, a little hint of something when the world isn't what you expected and it's not going for you. >> it was a combination of the world not what you expected to be and some shame and some sense that people won't maybe believe
it. >> yeah. i guess, and i think that was one of the stings that astounded me with human rights world when i first encountered it is that it was pretty easy for people to have horrible experiences denied, buried and forgotten. those in part got away with enormous amount and it seems that there was a fantastic opportunity with new technology coming, particularly cameras, of getting evidence that would make sure that some justice was achieved. >> your mission was to say, if we could use this new emerging technology, the idea you could get people into people's hands, in the '90s, video cameras and team people how to safely document things that were happening injustice that was being committed, that all of a sudden, you would take away that idea of denial, that it didn't
happen. >> yeah. we will see kind of powerful stuff but when we see a video, it becomes emotionally undeniable and even though we know now you can fake it in films, i think ber pretty good judges of authenticity. >> you went through an experience as a child, the from many years not that you were disinterested in human rights. but you describe it as something that was over there, outside, the way most people actually look at human rights, terrible that it's happening to those people. >> yeah. >> nothing to do with me. >> that's right. foreign. over there. out there. and then, you know, i got invited to a couple of things. i wrote this beaker song. and that served -- so my political education happened. >> steve beko? >> yeah, who was a great young leader, not the anc but he would have been a great future statesman and i am not sure they
actually intend today kill him but they tortured him so thoroughly that he died and they didn't treat him. they led him on this horrible ride. it got coverage enough to be noticed around the world when he was arrested. most of us assume he is going to be protected by the media coverage. so when he was actually killed, it was shocking. i wrote the song, and it was a bit like a calling card. then i got invited this, that, and the other and particularly the amnesty tours which in '86 and '88, the '881 went around the world, we suddenly started meeting people who were in the front line of these extraordinary experiences. >> but you had now crossed the threshold into the world of human rights activism and social justice and at that point, you were in. you couldn't walk away? in fact, you talk about bono hustling you into this as well? >> yeah. well, the first one was '86 and
bono was the master husbandler for that on behalf of amnesty. and i also took over his role on the 88 but i think he had been influenced by the song, too, and it was they were life changers, i think, for all of the musicians who took in the '88 tour, we had springsteen, doors, tracy chapman and i think for all of us, it was unlike any other experiences we had had. >> what's your sense of artists and musicians getting involved in causing like this? to feel good that you can change something? or do you think it really influences change? >> i don't think, you know, that the popular conception is we just do it to pop ourselves up and assuage our guilt, but i don't think it is like that. i don't think any of us would waste the time to do it if we didn't think it was going to make a difference. with the amnesty tour, for instance, the membership was
doubled worldwide. music, yes, . >> actually, as you guys know, you've got to film it in the right way. you've got to make it edited in such a way that it delivers the content in a meaningful and powerful and short enough, concise enough form that it actually makes a difference, touches people, and then, as i was learning even yesterday from -- because there has been a seismic shift. our dream is to get cameras to
the world. we couldn't do that. the phone companies did that. >> right. >> way better than we would ever dream of. it's knots not getting the cameras out there. how do you actually film it in such a way that it can be used as evidence? so, are there any incriminating bits of evidence that you can include in the footage? but it's you've got to think about all of these things in the way you construct and compose and then we look at ways to amplify that to help get it to the right people whether it's politicians or youtube has general would you sayly allowed us with storifold to set up a human rights channel on youtube, and that is obviously accessible to billions. so u, suddenly, there are means of getting this stuff out there. but to me, it's all part of this revolution that we -- when you are a kid, you know, you think your parents can sort out everything. i think, you know, we for a long time thought national governments can sort out things,
you know, that they are the grown ups. they can do the economy and diplomacy and all of that stuff. but actually, what we are seeing is things are coming up, whether it's isis or ebola or climate change that really can't be tackled by national governments that have to be tackled on a global front. so, you need to empower individuals and you can't rely on being the only vehicle for change. and this is, i think, at the very heart of what we were trying to do with witness, to get technology to people, to empower them to become more effective. >> there are remarkable examples around the world of people making the decision that we can't depend upon governments to do things but that we can use our positive energy to make change. we saw these rallies about climate change. it seems like there are people attending those marches and rallies who typically have not attended marches and rallies who don't think of themselves as
protesters? >> yeah. >> ceos? >> yeah. >> politicians. >> yeah. >> all sorts of people. >> ban kee moon. i think it's hugely significant. you know, like a lot of people, i think climate change had been over there. desirable to get them over -- i think the deniers, their day is over. we've got to take action, and we've got to do it fast. >> this is "talk talk to al jazeera" still ahead, peter gabe bre yell talks about his retrospective tour, back to front.
>> on the stream >> csi environment we talk with scientists who helping to pinpoint pollution culprits by creating a way to fingerprint fracking waste water >> the stream only on al jazeera america i am ali velshi. you are watching "to talk to al jazeera" my guest is peter gabe bre yell with richard branson, he helped create elders, a group of elder statesmen that works for global peace. >> you were having a conversation one day with richard branson, and you -- it seems like your -- you have these moments in your life where you decide that change is required and you are going to go really big with change. this yd of the elders? >> yeah. >> came up. >> yeah. >> tell us about the elders for those who don't know.
>> it's sort of a naive dream, you know, like you can get a bunch of super heroes and sort out some of the problems, but the serious aspect of it was that wisdom is the neglected commodity in a way. you know, people go through life, a ton of experience, and we sort of push them off to the sea and into the unknown. and there is something there that could be gained. the dream, i think, was that if you could find elder statesmen, states women, that have extraordinary lives behind them but are no longer interested in their own personal agrandizement, career or whatever but trying to get it right for the future and you can make connections with young people action young and old could apply a pincer movement on those in power as a balancing force, so i think the dream --
more my dad was an electrical engineer/inventor. so that's where i come from. richard was coming from it more from a conflict resolution potential. but -- >> they are mott mutually exclusive. >> they are not at all. i think we got excited with the idea that maybe if we could get a group together, they could really be of service, and we thought the person who had the most moral authority in the world at the time was mandela. we had to sell it to him his first reaction was, i don't think the world wants a bunch of old timers? this is mandela? >> his response and reflected and he thought there was a time when i was in negotiation with the hutus and tutsies and he
said we want to talk with you because it's like talk with our father, and we feel your interest is just to get it right for everyone. everybody else has an agenda, you know, and that is fortunate. unfortunately, the truth about a lot of national governments is, you know, a particularly when politicians have to pay lots of money to get elected. you have to make agreements for compromi compromises. people who have had that experience could maybe add something. one of the founding principles of the elders is they talk to everyone. you know, too bad, too horrible to communicate with because if you look, you know, if you look at mandela, himself, you look t attis, you see terrorists as they were called by some faxes become statesmen or peace makers.
you know, tutu, himself, says no one is beyond redemption. and so we just have to say, actually, you know, people are extraordinarily complicated, often terrible but miraculous and wonderful things and we have to trust in basic humanity at some level. so a lot of situations, you know, they won't be able to help, but there will be some situations at a tipping point, a crucial moment where they can come in and really make a difference person to person. for instance, i think hundreds of thousands of young girls around the world turned into brides before they became adults, as kids, and they managed to get this on the united nation's platform. it's changed laws in various countries and my dream is that when applied for citizen power, which can connect at the cross borders globally on some
campaigns. if something bad happens, we can map it. we have tools to visualize it in extraordinary ways to make it very clear what's going on. we can then get the stories told so that individuals can speak in their own voices as well as, you know, we would still need media. we need context. we need opinion. but we need to hear from the people actually suffering, themselves. >> when you were starting the elders, these are people who don't hold public office any more, desmond tutu said i did not know peter gabe bre yell from a bar of soap? >> i think he still gets confused. >> when i met him for the first time on his friend, sir richard bransom's island in the virgin islands. what is his correct? he has a heart. we would give him our highest accolade and say he has obuntu, that marvelous quality that speaks of compassion and
generosity, about sharing, about hospitality, that's what bishop desmond tutu said about you. i think there are a lot of people who would even like for him to know where they are? >> i am pretty good pr. he is an amazing man that's been -- a lot of the elders were all of them in their own ways are just extraordinary people to be around, and i feel very privileged, you know, when we can listen in to the meeting some of the time. >> what is in your heart? why are you doing all of this? it's a bigger part of your life than your music these days, i think? >> it's about a third, a third, a third with this benefit work, music and tech. i love tech stuff. and i think to me, i think it's my dad's genes of invention, you know, in social invention is maybe a part of the contemporary invents ors palate. >> let's talk a little bit about music, what you call a third. you are back to front tour,
traveling to europe soon. i was interested in the -- what you are calling "the tour," the back to front tour. >> it's my first backward looking tour. and i had always stayed away, you know. i hadn't done this sort of reform genesis tour. i hadn't gone back on high old stuff and then i went to see brian wilson do pet sounds, and i thought, actually, to see someone wrote something that is special to you do it with some of the people that he created it with, that's a lovely thing. and i thought, okay. maybe i was wrong about that. and i will put the band together that toured the album and we do it flu in three parts. the first part is like the process, sort of the process, not the product. so we start with a song that hasn't been finished. so you sort of see it as its trying to find its shape or i am struggling without words and
feeling my way with sounds and then the second and third and fourth numbers will be like with aduftic as we might be in a rehearsal room trying to work stuff out. the next is the electronic bit. if they survive that, they get the album. >> so you are not going to a peter gabebly bre yell best of concert? >> no. there is some of that in the soul section, it's not always easy. >> it is the 25th anniversary of the real world record label. i want to get your sense of this relationship that you have been instrumental in developing between western and non-western artists and how that's gone and where we are 25 years later. >> right. well, i think it began as a failed drama. you know, i loved drums and i loved great grooves. i was hearing more interesting grooves coming from other countries than i was hearing from the radio. and then fantastic voices,
fantastic players and atmospheres and yet people weren't singing in english, weren't from mainstream pop culture, they weren't getting seen or heard, so i found a group of people that were enthusiastic like me and we started putting an event together which became the real manifest value which we have taken around the world and real world records grew out of that because we had all of these wonderful musicians who sort of couldn't get -- well, they could get arrested quite easily but they couldn't get recorded very easily. >> your point was that there were great perform applications out there? >> great artists, great perform applications, yeah. >> but people just weren't listening to them? >> yeah. >> they couldn't get out of their own silk because if you weren't listening to music in english that sounded like the current trend -- >> yeah. >>-- it wasn't getting anywhere? >> we do that with food. like your italian or your indian food or your leb lebanese food
and it may be you are familiar. maybe it takes us a couple of times a couple of visits before our pallette is open enough that we actually give it a proper go. >> you might love it. >> you might love it. i always challenge anyone to come to one of our world manifest values and not find one artist that you fall in love with. >> you have been inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame twice. once, for genesis, and once as a solo artist. the "new yorker" wrote of you, his travel during his five-decade career is so great that it can be hard to reconcile the progressive rock front-man of the '70s with the multi-cultural, multi-media human rights activist who came later. do you have any trouble reconciling this? >> no. i just think i would say that anyone -- >> i think they meant it as a compliment. >> it's a wonderful thing. i have had fantastic opportunities, and i have always been smarter to surround myself
with people that are smarter than i am. smart enough, sorry, i should say and i always say to people, there are people that i know who are better and more able than i am in any one of the areas that i am involved in. it has not deterred me. it has not stopped me. it should never deter or stop you. >> that's what i would say to young people because, you know, it's very ambitious or arrogant to assume that you can get away with all of this stuff. but i think if your heart is in the right place and you are following what you love, things fall into place. >> what would stop people is running out of money. >> yeah. >> and when you started wo-man, i understand you had to mortgage your house. >> i was in a situation, yeah, where we had debts. again, that was highly ambition festivals and we thought this is such a brilliant idea, everyone
will come, and very few people did. so it was more money than i had veeru they said we will do a concert with you and give all of the money to pay off the debts and keep where i am at alive and they honored that and it is still going 30 years on. so, i am extremely grateful for that but it was a skraer moment and you know we are getting horrible phone calls tell home because they would look at the list of directors and see, this is a fat cat that we can squeeze and it was death threats. quite unpleasant. >> wow. >> so it was -- but anyway. all is well that ends well. >> peter gabe bre yell has just about done it all when it comes to the world of music. now, he is working with apes. yes. apes. >> that's next on "talk to al jazeera."
>> it's a chilling and draconian sentence... it simply cannot stand. >> its disgraceful... the only crime they really committed is journalism... >> they are truth seekers... >> all they really wanna do is find out what's happening, so they can tell people... >> governments around the world all united to condemn this... >> as you can see, it's still a very much volatile situation... >> the government is prepared to carry out mass array...
apes. >> yeah. well, i mean i played -- i had a year when i was working with sue savage-rumbeau with these extraordinary bonobo apes and i went down there four times. sometimes with musicians and, and we tried different things but in the end, we got a bonobois on the keyboard, two of the apes and i would be playing in the next door room. they could see me and they would just experiment with different notes according to what i was playing, and most people, you know, i mean i think some people have seen stuff on the movies and they expect had he them to play beetoven but what you see is an extraordinary intelligence questioning each note, finding harmonnies, octaves, repeating certain notes and for any
musician, they get blown away because there is something happening which you get in a jam where things begin to work, and it was 100% evidence from the -- of the intelligence of other beings, and i think we have maintained extremely arrogant attitude towards the other beings that we share the planet with. >> you mean we as humans. >> as humans, yeah. let's see who it is that we share the planet with before we external nature them all. >> what a brilliant thought to end this on, peter gabe bre yell. thank you so much for your time. thank youriel. thank you so much for your time. thank you
>> two years ago, buddhist mobs tore through rohingya muslim communities in western burma, . stern burma, two years ago, buddhist i tore through an area that spread to other parts of the country with little hindrance. now tennesss of thousands are hd under armed guards while others have tried to flee. as jason makma reports, they are being exploited and